OXFORD, MS (WLOX) - Chad Kelly was the spark plug behind the Ole Miss Rebels offensive success the past two seasons. With Kelly out and Ole Miss (4-5, 1-4 SEC) needing two wins in their next three games to become bowl-eligible, coach Hugh Freeze isn't sure what he's going to do at this time.
Jason Pellerin has seen playing time in a backup role behind Kelly, but he's not the passing quarterback that Kelly was and won't be able to take advantage of the talented Ole Miss receivers. Five-star quarterback Shea Patterson has been sitting on the bench in anticipation of receiving a redshirt season.
However, with Kelly out of the picture, Patterson could get the call to fill-in at quarterback. Will Freeze pull Patterson's redshirt?
"That's a very difficult thing to do at this time in the year with three games left. "Freeze said. "All options are on the table sitting here Monday morning. We have looked at Markell (Pack) who has played quarterback, Evan Engram can throw and Kentucky played a whole game with a running back at quarterback. Hopefully, Jason Pellerin will stay healthy. I would rule nothing out at this point today. I am just trying to figure out what is best for individuals and for the team, that is not something I want to rush to make a decision on. It certainly would be difficult to do that, but I wouldn't quite totally rule it out just yet, but I want to take my time and think through it for sure and we are looking at all options."
Freeze said Pellerin is going to get most of the reps in practice in preparation for Texas A&M Saturday beginning at 6:30 in College Station. Freeze said he's even considered using tackle Jeremy Liggins who was a starting quarterback at Oxford High School.
Shea Patterson has been getting reps with the scout team.
"I have to think what's best for the team first and individual kind of second, and that's a really tough question to answer, "stated Freeze.
Freeze was asked on the possibility of Shea Patterson remaining at Ole Miss for five years. He said, "I can't foresee what's going to happen that far down the road. You never know how things are going to play out over three, four or five years. That really doesn't play into it for me. I just thing you have to look at the whole scenario for what's best for the team and how many games are left, and if you want his first start to be in front of 115,000 at A&M or the first game next year. You want to set a kid up for success, we obviously believe he is a super talent, but those are all the kinds of things going on in your mind."
Has Freeze spoken with Patterson regarding paying time?
Freeze said, "Yes, I have talked to all our players and Shea is one of them. Shea will play anytime. He is ready to go, he wants to go play them, but it is not a decision I can make out of emotion, I want to really think through it."
Coach Freeze said Kelly will be remembered as one of the best competitors that ever played at Ole Miss.
"He is the quarterback that helped lead us back to the Sugar Bowl since Archie Manning, "Freeze said. "The Ole Miss people will remember that for a long time. He will be etched in a memory of everyone that followed our program as one of the greatest competitors to play that position there."
Freeze has even considered talking with former Ole Miss quarterback Ryan Buchanan to come out of retirement.
"I haven't called him yet, "stated Freeze. "I think Dan Werner may have had a conversation with him. I probably shouldn't have said that in the press conference, I love Ryan and Ryan loves this play."
Freeze said he and his staff is thinking through every option and every scenario is a possibility.